On February 23, 2021, B1C hosted a webinar on the outlook of immigration reform under President Biden. Rep. Jim Himes (U.S. Congress), Chief Timothy Shaw (Stamford Police Dept.), and Meghann LaFountain (Attorney - American Immigration Lawyers Association) joined Anka Badurina, B1C’s Executive Director for the discussion.
Rep. Himes spoke to the new Administration’s change in tone toward immigration compared to Trump. The Biden administration has already issued many positive immigration executive orders, but Rep. Himes reminded us that executive orders do not actually change the law. Executive orders can be overturned by the next administration. While Rep. Himes sees bipartisan support for legislation reforming the immigration system, he knows it will be a very difficult road to enact reforms. In the meantime, he expects that the Biden administration will be able to stop the vilification of undocumented immigrants. He expects that deportations will be focused on individuals who are security threats or have criminal records. Rep. Himes also expects the administration to help ensure that undocumented individuals are not afraid to seek medical care.
Chief Shaw reminded everyone that the City of Stamford is a welcoming city for immigrants. Regardless of status, individuals do not need to be afraid of the police. If you are a victim or a witness of any crime, please reach out. Chief Shaw also assured residents that the SPD can and will protect persons that report crimes from retaliation.
On the same note as Rep. Himes, Attorney Meghann LaFountain also reminded us that there have been no changes in the law. Therefore, everyone should be cautious of unqualified persons (notarios) offering to prepare documents to take advantage of the changed outlook. There is nothing to be prepared at this time. Individuals wanting to plan for potential legal changes can work on getting their records together. Ms. LaFountain suggested paying taxes and locating tax files and proofs of residency (rental leases, utility bills, medical, school records) and references that can vouch for physical presence). Individuals don’t need to pay for costly records yet but just locate them.
Click below for the full recording of the webinar.